SoftBank’s boss is ‘embarrassed and flustered’ by track record amid WeWork trouble

Marco Green
October 8, 2019

Shares of Uber have dropped over 30% since the company went public in May, Fortune reported.

Masayoshi Son said he is concerned by performance at Softbank, which has come into the firing line over unfortunate punts on the likes of WeWork and Uber that risk causing billions of dollars of losses.

"Recently I have been telling founders to "know your limit", Son said. Now, he's struggling to raise money for his second giant technology investment fund, Vision Fund 2.

Son is going through a particularly rocky stretch after repositioning SoftBank from a telecom operator into an investment conglomerate, with stakes in scores of startups around the world.

"When I look at the growth of USA and Chinese companies, I feel strongly it's not good enough", Son said in an interview.

"I include myself when I say it is not the time for Japanese entrepreneurs to be making excuses", Son said.

"It only just began and I feel there is tremendous potential there", Son told Nikkei Business. His strategy is to invest in companies that see a world shaped by artificial intelligence. Softbank invested almost $11 billion into the co-working company, which was once privately valued at $47 billion. He claims that he has a 30-year plan, but also has ideas looking as far ahead as 300 years in the future. This one-two punch has helped erase the gains of SoftBank's record US$5.5 billion buyback eight months ago.

"Companies like WeWork and Uber are criticized for being in the red, but in 10 years they'll be making substantial profits", Son said. At the gathering, held at the five-star Langham resort in Pasadena, California, Son also stressed the importance of good governance.

One of those founders may very well be WeWork's former CEO Adam Neumann, whom SoftBank reportedly pressured to resign amid public scrutiny over the IPO filing.

Son has always been known as a free-spending benefactor who encouraged startup founders to pursue their dreams even if it meant losing billions of dollars in the process. "Knowing your limitations will help unleash limitless possibilities".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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